Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Weekly Sneak: First Step to Fixing A Problem is to Admit You Have One.

There is so much going on in the world right now, what with Trump looking vulnerable and Britain's EU relationship crisis I just want to sit back with some popcorn and watch. But, deadlines, so. This week I am embarking on the second piece in what looks like an organically-developing treatise on the internets and freedoms and security and stuff:

"Let's browse your cyberlife with the 'safe' setting on. Specifically, the issues of security and privacy and criminality. Do you have your finger on the touchscreen there, is your online environment as secure as a 14-character password with at least one number and one symbol in it? Do you get the feeling, somebody's watching you... through your in-built camera? Well you should. George Orwell, one of our father prophets* of modern dystopia, wrote about this in some detail in his scripture titled '1984.' Of course, like any prophetic work, it was stunningly prescient yet limited in its scope and ability to go into detail about the realities of a Big Brother state mentality. It doesn't talk about, for example, the corporate empires of information and technology or the governance wars that have just begun and that affect us all in alarming ways."

You know that moment when you realize how ignorant you are about a field or subject that has a critical impact on your life? Some people can live with that. Those of us with terminal curiosity who were clearly cats in a past nine lives cannot. The more I find out I don't know about the politics of current ICT, the more I want to know. As far as relevance goes, as always technology is central to human welfare and development at a deep level. Which makes the social aspect of it endlessly fascinating. But, you know, I am going to still keep it light because it is important to have fun

*As I wrote about the father prophet Orwell it occurred to me that I was kind of leading up to writing about the mother prophet Margaret Atwood and her tract 'The Handmaid's Tale' with its vision of a near-future in which fertility has been compromised by some unnamed environmental disaster in the crazed religious totalitarian regime that controls the United States of America. Gender politics, the rise of religious extremism, environmental disaster/disease affecting human fertility sound familiar? If you have ever doubted the importance of speculative fiction (sci-fi and fantasy, the esoteric) or channelled yourself in the direction of strict "useful" non-fiction, the 21st Century is asking you to reconsider. 

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